The Twang-O-Matics – Hark Now!
TITLE: Hey! A fun title! And not a title track! And it has an exclamation mark, which you know I am in favor of, because Xmas is worth getting excited about, or else what’s the point.
COVER ART: A grotesque alt-comics Santa flies out of a chimney with his ass on fire.
LISTENING: Four quick-and-furious instrumentals from Norwegian surf rock combo, including an intro from a crazed-sounding Santa instructing listeners to stuff their stockings and trim their trees.
VERDICT: The second Santa quotes The Beatles’ Xmas greeting of choice (“Happy Krimble”) I was sold. A welcome blast of energy.
The Twang-O-Matics – Hark Now!
TWANGING STRIKES AGAIN. Last year, Norway's self-proclaimed top instrumental group, the Twang-O-Matics, gave us an EP, No Sleep 'Til Bethlehem. This year, we get another dose with Hark Now! It's widely available for download, or get it on colored vinyl from the band's website.
The Twang-O-Matics – Hark Now!
The Norwegian surfrock trio The Twang-O-Matics released a Christmas EP last year and decided to release another one in 2019. Last year’s EP had four speeded-up covers of Christmas classics, three international and one Norwegian. This new EP has only one international Christmas carol featured: ‘Deck The Halls’, as opener on side B. The song is followed by an original: ‘Tempo’s Christmas Rush’, a mixture of superfast surf guitar and sounds of cars crashing. Side A has what probably are two Norwegian Christmas songs – at least, both titles are in Norwegian, although the first of the two songs, ‘'Nå Tennes Tusen Julelys' is full of English Christmas-related samples. Both songs are double bass driven speedy surf rock & roll songs, delivered with plenty of energy.
The Twang-O-Matics – The Wild and Exotic Sounds of... 6/10
The Twang-O-Matics are a Norwagian trio specialising in surf instrumentals with a psychobilly twist. The problem with surf instrumentals, however, is that there’s only so much you can do with the formula so it’s difficult for bands to stand out from the pack. Having said that, the Twang-O-Matics have pulled off an authentic sound. LC
The Twang-O-Matics – No Sleep 'Til Bethlehem
Continental Magazine #24
The Twang-O-Matics – Rock Havoc! ****
The Twang-O-Matics, an incredibly cool surf rock combo from Norway, are back with their brand new full-length CD – ten original tunes that will blow your mind. They are a high energy combo; definitely not a band for people looking for something mellow and soothing, while the ocean breezes waft through their hair. They deliver their tunes hard and fast, with heavy emphasis on fuzzy, buzzy guitars and unrelenting rhythms. The call their sound “surf and punk-a-billy” and that pretty much nails it. The music was mastered by Tim Warren of Crypt Records, and it’s all packaged with stunning, detailed artwork that really captures what this band is all about! The music is the reason to get this, but the cover art is truly special – probably one of the best covers I’ve seen in the last 5 – 10 years or so.
Vintage Rock Magazine Issue 21 2016
Rock Havoc! - The Twang-O-Matics
“More Dick Dale than Hank Marvin, this fourth album from the Norwegian instrumental outfit contains lots of uptempo rompers plus some dark and moody themes. Garage, surf and punkabilly is the name of the game, and this four-piece boasts Nils Tempo and Stian Golden on guitar, Steinar Nilsen on double bass and Olle Hov on drums, all of whom have served time in various Norwegian cult groups. It’s likely to appeal to instro fans of all nationalities, and there’s not a duff track here. Will we see them in the UK soon? JH”
Continental Magazine #22
Death Grip/Werewolf - The Twang-O-Matics
I absolutely love the sound of this Norwegian surf/instro combo - they truly give all with each and every recording. The arrival of this platter during the Halloween season was perfect - one look at the Merinuk designed full color sleeve, using the title of the a-side as a primary influence, I knew this would be a special 7". The songs are truly great, especially "Death Grip", an original which shows of their performing and songwriting skills. Powerfull, with a driving beat and alternating tremolo and reverbed guitar - simply outstanding. The flip side contains "Werewolf", a classic Halloween tune that I have several versions of (6 or 7, at least), but they do a good job with this. I maybe, just maybe, like the Eddie Angel and The Frantics` version better, but this is a cleander recording, which still manages to maintain a dark, spooky feel to it. Sadly their talented drummer Mathias Johnsen recently passed away, but while he will be sadly missed, the band hopes to continue on in 2014.
Fretboard Mojo - The Twang-O-Matics
The international phenomenon known as Surf-Rock instrumental music continues unabated. The country of Norway has long been known for great guitar masters and of course many of the early ECM albums were recorded in the Scandinavian stronghold. More inspired by American instrumental icons such as The Ventures and Dick Dale than by ECM type recordings, The Twang-O-Matics have been making waves with their 2013 CD entitled Freeboard Mojo. The quartet features the dueling guitars of Nils Tempo and Stian Golden, who are backed by the rhythm section of Steinar Nilsen (bass) and Mathias Johnsen (drums). Featuring a dozen rockin’ instrumentals, the CD and vinyl pressing clocks in under a half hour but there’s plenty of variety. Some tracks sound like West Coast surf-rock with a touch of Norwegian melodic magic (think Edvard Grieg with a Strat). The CD sounds excellent and the cover art is very effective at conjuring images of Jet Set surf-rock with shades of western twang and fuzzed out super spy blasts. What ever your favorite surf-rock sound is, there’s plenty of guitar energy worth hearing on Fretboard Mojo.
Death Grip/Werewolf 7-inch by the Twang-O-Matics
Review by Noel
The Twang-O-Matics have just released this new 45 RPM 7-inch record.
Just in time for Halloween, the Twang-O-Matics have released a classic horror-themed 7-inch record. The A-side is "Death Grip" and the venerable "Werewolf" is the B-side. This record is everything and exactly what you expect it to be. The front cover art shows the band playing on the knob of a hill or barrow in a cemetery, a giant decaying skeletal clawed hand reaching overhead as it prepares to clasp them all in a death grip. The back cover shows the instruments scattered on the ground, the musicians having hopefully escaped. Perhaps not every mound in a cemetery is a safe location to set up your instruments, no matter how good the view? The record, in a protective glossy heavy paper sleeve inside the jacket, is pressed on creamy translucent heavy vinyl.
The songs are exactly right for the theme. They fit perfectly in any Halloween or horror song playlist. "Death Grip" is fun in that creepy sinister way we expect these songs to be; haunted mansion or grave yard theme music. Perfect music to play if you're going to put your Halloween candy in a coffin-shaped box for the little kiddies. This version of "Werewolf" replaces the famous werewolf curse narrative with very effective howling. By the time you hear the howling, it's too late. I really like this version. The playing and sound quality are excellent on both songs.
About how the record sounds, the late Mathias Johnsen is responsible for the engineering, mixing and mastering of the record. I believe he did an excellent job and I really enjoyed listening to these songs. About the recording, Nils Tempo told me about Mathias, "…He was really getting better at recording every time he did; where to put the mics, what kind of mics to use, and that kind of stuff. He even plays a little guitar on Death Grip (a part I was struggling with)."
Death Grip/Werewolf by the Twang-O-Matics is a fine addition to the world of classic horror-surf music. I like it a lot. I think you will, too.
"Death Grip" written & arranged by the Twang-O-Matics. "Werewolf" written & composed by Gary Hodge and Terry Wadsworth.
Cover design by King Merinuk. Label logo design by Fred Lammers.
This record was produced by the Twang-O-Matics.
Recorded and mixed by Mathias Johnsen.
ROCK IS DEAD/R.I.P. 02.11.2013
The Twang-O-Matics "Death Grip"/"Werewolf" 7" [Hack Shack Records] 2013
Norway's Twang-O-Matics are back with yet another bone shakin' release.A little over six months ago the band release their sophomore release with "Fretboard Mojo" a instant modern surf classic in my book.With this release the band steer towards a sinister depth with these two creepers. Side A "Death Grip" comes on like a bloodthirsty creature lurking in the shadows with the doghouse bass serving as pulse seeker.The guitars certainly have that distinctly familiar Halloween reverb death rattle most of us expect. The B-side is a cover of The Frantics classic "Werewolf".Eddie Angel of Los Straitjackets fame brought this tune to my attention back in the mid nineties.As for this version the band give it their now signature tone while remaining true to the original.As with every release so far the artwork is done by the infamous Darren King Merinuk.I give away the fate of the band from the monster's death grip,but you'll just have to buy the record to find out. For purchasing of this horrorific record,or if you're needle shy and want only the MP3's follow these links.
The Thwang-O-Matics: Death Grip / Werewolf (2013)
Reviewed by: Duke
Two spook-a-licious instro horror tunes await you on The Twang-O-Matics' Death Grip / Werewolf 7" vinyl record. Enough thrills and chills are packed into these two songs to make Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney come unglued. As for my reaction, let's just say I'm glad my bladder wasn't full.
Gather your courage and scope out the spooktacular, macabre artwork. That's a portent of things to come.
Before I delve into the creep factor, let me introduce you to The Twang-O-Matics, the four prodigious purveyors of petrifying puke 'n' scream pandemonium that eminates from this spine-tingling record. The Twang-O-Matics are an all-instrumental band from Norway.
The band members are:
Nils Tempo: Guitar
Stian Golden: Guitar
Steinar Nilsen: Double Bass
Mathias Johnsen: Drums
Side A: Death Grip - Listening to this cut is like taking the big sleep and being hauled off to the morgue in a 1953 Cadillac hearse. The ghoul behind the wheel is grinning at me with yellow, rotten teeth. His wicked grin, the sickening stench of death that permeates the hearse and the ghoul's maniacal driving tells me I'm on a one-way trip to Hell. Damn tootin' I've got a Death Grip. I'm gripping so hard they'll have to pry my cold, rigor mortis infused hands from the dashboard. There are going to be dents where my fingers twisted the steel. The deadly guitars and drums scream a gravedigger's warning that Death Grip is not for the faint of heart.
Side B: Werewolf - Good gawd, now this crazed ghoul wants to scare me to death by driving me past the hounds from Hell. I want to scream at him, to tell him I'm already dead, but my mouth won't move. I don't know whether it's rigor mortis of the jaw or my fear of the howling werewolves that keeps my mouth clenched tighter than a miser's fist on a shiny new penny. Do werewolves eat rotting flesh? If they do, I'm in deep doo-doo. One thing I do know, though, is that I'm scared stiff. I've always loved the sounds of guitars and drums, but The Twang-O-Matics are making my rigor mortis harder than the cement in Hoover Dam with the spooktacularly creepy way they're whackng away on their axes. I hope this is all a dream because if this is what it's like to be dead, I need to find Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth before the clock strikes thirteen on my cold, dead ass.
So, you think you're a Creature of the Night, do you? No self-respecting moon worshiper can claim that title until they've survived the white-knuckle terror of Death Grip / Werewolf. You have been warned. Spin it, if you dare.
THE CONTINENTAL MAGAZINE # 21
THE TWANG-O-MATICS / FRETBOARD MOJO (2013)
I`ve been looking forward to this release for a long time, and it`s finally here! Their country of Norway isn`t guite the center of the surfing universe, but there are some very good surf bands there, and The Twang-O-Matics are one of the best. When you get this cd you`ll immediatly know you`re into something good with the cool cover design by famed low-brow artist Darren Merinuk. A nice touch is the "No lyric-sheet enclosed" sticker on the front. But enough about the artwork - let`s dig into the music! That`s where this band really impress - they simply do it all- Reverb drenched surf twangers, gritty spaghetti western instros, raucous go-go stompers and more. With the energy they show here, you know they`de be a terrific live act as well. If they don`t hit your town anytime soon, do the next best thing and pick up this disc right away!
PIPELINE MAGAZINE # 92
THE TWANG-O-MATICS / FRETBOARD MOJO (2013)
"No lyric-sheet enclosed" the sticker on the cover proudly announces. The Twang-O-Matics are an instrumental group and proud of it. The twin guitars of Nils Tempo and Stian Golden are ably supported by the double bass of Steinar Nilsen and drummer Mathias Johnsen on this set of punhy originals. The sound is crisp and bright with strident guitars to the fore and the numbers are kept sensibly succient with an average lenght of barely over two minutes. Amongst the smash and crash of numbers like The Twangster, Test Drive and Fez Inferno there`s a shimmering tremolo feature in The Ghost, damped reverb picking on Persona Non Grata, cowboy western with Tennessee Deadshot and a touch of spag-west on The Chosen One. It`s a good mix, with the pert Boss Lady a prime example.
THE TWANG-O-MATICS / FRETBOARD MOJO (2013)
Halden-kvartetten har satt seg solid på det internasjonale instrumentalkartet siden debut-ep-en for et år siden. Selv om tre av låtene fra den er med på dette første fulltidsalbumet er inntrykket at de har latt garagerøttene slippe mer til. Dette er tøff garagesurf med stilige riff, ganske særprega stemninger og ofte med fuzza reverb.
Gitaristene Nils Tempo og Stian Golden spiller både med og mot hverandre og sammen med ståbassist Steinar Nilsen og trommeslager Mathias Johnsen klarer de å produsere en original stil. Med medlemmenes bakgrunn fra rockabilly, 60-talls garage og surf er sekken full av ymse inspirasjonskilder de ikke på noen måte er redde for å blande inn. Musikken møtes i skjæringspunktet mellom Dick Dale, Los Straitjackets og Link Wray og The Twang-O-Matics føles nyskapende innenfor en ganske klart definert tradisjon.
VINTAGE ROCK MAGAZINE ISSUE 5 SPRING 2013
THE TWANG-O-MATICS / FRETBOARD MOJO (2013)
"Formed out of the ashes of several cult Norwegian outfits, the Twang-O-Matics debut album offers up a fuzz-filled, raucous brand of surf instrumental that demands frenzied dancing...and lots of it. Guitarists Nils Tempo and Stian Golden tempt a mighty twang from their six-strings as they joust their way thrugh 12 original tracks that reference Dick Dale, Link Wray, Los Straitjackets and the like, but veer of regularly into a world of their own making. Theirs is a mojo made up of western, exotica, surf, spy and tons of twanging fury"
Reviewed by: Emma Jade Gunn
The Twang-O-Matics are from a place called Halden, Norway. Sports, water, wildlife - a lot goes on in Norway. A lot goes on with The Twang-O-Matics, too. They are wolves with guitars and drums - fast, smooth, assured in their stride. Like superlative athletes, they're curling, sweeping and leaving us speeding with pure unadulterated Hot-Dang-That's-Funtastic instro surf, spy and spaghetti sounds.
The Twang-O-Matics are an all-instrumental band. They were formed in the summer of 2011, influenced by rockabilly, sixties garage and surf. All are accomplished musicians and have been in various Norwegian cult groups including The Basement Brats, The Squareheads, The Nuggets and The Marsmen. Believe me, their mojo is working! Big time!
The Twang-O-Matics Are:
Nils Tempo - guitar
Stian Golden - guitar and mandolin
Steinar Nilsen - double bass and percussion
Mathias Johnsen - drums and cymbals
Fretboard Mojo is the band's debut full-length recording. It was released in 2013. Get a load of that CD cover by Artiste Sublime King Merinuk. That's this disc in a nutshell - Far Out and Fretalicous with Drumtastic Dementia Destined to Delight.
All twelve tracks on Fretboard Mojo were written, arranged and produced by The Twang-O-Matics so you know it's on-top-of-the-world wunnerful! Listen in to.....
Boss Lady - I am the Boss Lady. Yeppers. C'est moi. What about me? Me. Me. Me. After listening to this uber cool rocker, I really, truly, honest-to-goodness intend to become someone's boss somewhere, someday. Seriously! What could be finer than having those victorious strums and butt-thumping drums watching your back? Baby, the guitar distortion and tremolo fits Em like a glove on the Queen. See me waving my hand at the underlings? Oh, yes, even the four-count ticking sticks that open Boss Lady is just like me whacking my Mont Blanc fountain pen on the conference room table. "Let's have your attention, please. Boss Lady is in the building."
The Ghost - Part superhero, part spy, part minion of the dark, The Ghost messes with your gut from the doomful throb of the bass drum to the thrilling lead guitar riff. Boo, boo, boo ... boodacious spy, ghost, superhero, whatever that thing is ... it's following me around, hiding behind doors, watching, waiting, pushing, pulling, testing my mettle and jabbing my ribcage. Dig that ending. The Ghost skeered ya and made ya run, didn't he? Ha! Me, too! Oh, my.
Persona Non Grata - When I saw the title of this track, I thought, "Now how exactly does one write a song about an unwelcome person without employing lyrics?" The answer, my friends, isn't blowing in the wind; it's blowing out instro Twang-O-Matics predatory guitars style. You did it, Twangsters, and I'm freaking impressed! With its mysterious sounding eighth-note rhythm, Persona Non Grata is a rapacious spy rocker. It lets you know right then and there that if you weren't invited, you DO NOT get to stay. If Persona Non Grata was a snake, I'd be on top of a table. Great job!
Rat Trap - Reminiscent of a surf rock trip to the Middle East, Rat Trap catches you and holds you in its cleverly composed jaws. Forget belly dancing - which, if you have hips of steel, you could do to this track - and grab an old surfboard to slide down a few monster waves of sand and sound. But make it fast ... because at 1:45 Rat Trap is over waaaaay before you're ready. It's going to invite you to push that repeat button again and again.
Tennessee Deadshot - Spaghetti Western is alive and well for Tennessee sharpshooters and hurray for that! At 1:07 the bullseye guitar lead slices through the target with intense heat then repeats itself again at 1:35, just in case your bones still have flesh on them. Yessir, Davy Crockett could have learned a thing or two from The Twangsters.
Fez Inferno - Shake the tassel on your tarboosh and dig into a pile of silk. Keep looking because with all of that silk there has to be a sinuously snaking torso in there. Fez Inferno doesn't diddy bop, it sets you skittering across a pyre of fire and brimstone, dancing and even prancing to protect your bitty toe from blazing. Dang, that's baking my soles. Things get so hot at 1:33 that spontaneous human combustion comes to mind. Next time I get a Twang-O-Matics CD I'm bringing asbestos flip-flops.
Test Drive - This hot rod tune burns like a meteor entering earth's atmosphere. It blazes like the full throttle roar of a classic GTO 455. I know what some of you will be thinking when you hear the opening of Test Drive. You'll surmise the sounds are from a woman with wanton ways. Now, ya'all behave yourselves. To me, they are the kind of sounds we made when that GTO pegged out the speedometer. You know the sounds - half way between crying like a baby because metal is starting to wave like it's about to surf onto the roadside and moaning with passion because there is very little that can get your blood boiling like test driving a muscle car. Test Drive! I'm with you, guys, let's go!
The Chosen One - Uno, dos, tres, cuatro - There's a wash southwest of Tucson, Arizona that undulates among cactus and rocks the size of houses. I can see Lozen, a great Apache whose skill on horses was legendary, cutting across that wash when I listen to The Chosen One. Dust kicks up around the hooves of her stallion. The pacing drums propel her to destiny. Victorio said of his sister, "... strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy." Yes, The Chosen One could be a tribute to such a woman. I would like to think it is. If I were Lozen, I would insist that it be - and I'd get away with it, too, because to be akin to this track is to be stronger than imaginable. Bold and beautiful, The Chosen One is Spaghetti Western at its very best.
Spy - The Mystery Man - Filled with peering around corners, sleuthing in a crowd, fedora tilted low, trench coat swirling about my calves, Ray Bans below furrowed brow. Boris has me in his sights, hammer cocked, his no-goodnik partner rowing them around the bend in the river in a little boat. "Stroke, Natasha, stroke, stroke," he says. She dips the oars in with a vengeance ... they're pretty close after a mere thirty seconds. Hear that bass drum warning me? Yep. Me, too. That no good spy ain't gonna get me! The Twang-O-Matics blast him with a lead guitar at 1:26, giving me the moment I need to shinny up a drainpipe and disappear across the rooftops. I'm safe thanks to the Twang Gang's intervention on my behalf. Saved by the dudes. Thank you, Twang-O-Matics. I wouldn't have liked being the prisoner of a two inch tall cartoon character. No. I would not have liked that at all. But I like Spy - The Mystery Man! A LOT!
Harem Headlock - The changes throughout Harem Headlock are indubitably refreshing. This is proof, right here and now, of how a great composer and consummate musicians can make a song literally travel around the world and still keep the flow. You can almost see a group of harem women in a Battle Royal over who gets what. Frantic chicks going berserk with veils and ankle bracelets - who knows over what treasure? Now and then a more docile soul intervenes, but then they're back at it again. Awesome! Personally, I think Chick A headlocked Chick B because Chick C has more bells on her toes and Chick D wanted the chocolate ice cream Chick E took from Chick A when Chick A offered to trade it for a couple of Chick C's bells before Chick B ate the baklava. But I'm not sure.
El Hombre Sin Calor - The genesis of El Hombre Sin Calor grabbed my attention and by the time the thematic riff started I had turned my volume to its apex. The name of this song roughly translates to "man without heat" and deftly elicits the feeling of a lone horseman crossing the ridge, fading sun silhouetting him in copper. Maybe the title of the song means without heat, but the Twang-O-Matics are hot, I tell you. Hot! Their passion is strong enough to take your breath away.
The Twangster - With just the right amount of twangy raucousness, The Twangster is a rocky, rolly, surfy, spaghetti treat to titillate your tympanum and gustatory cells. I'm wild about that loooong note at the beginning that seems to be held forever! Everywhere I turn these days I see something or hear someone telling me to check out the Wizard of Oz. I love Frank Baum, but The Twangster by The Twang-O-Matics is the kind of magic I need. Flying monkeys? Coolness, but give me those flying guitars! Fields of poppies? Very nice, but I can get high enough on righteous drumming! Yessiree, Bob, give me The Twangster ... someone else can have the Wizard of Oz, the flying monkeys and the fields of poppies.
My, my, my. It's mind control, I tell you. The Twang-O-Matics stole my brain and returned it filled with gnarly instro rock notes. Shakespeare wrote, "... the wolf behowls the moon." I'm here to tell you The Twangsters don't just howl, they roar. Yep. ROAR!
ROCK IS DEAD/R.I.P. 13.03.2013
THE TWANG-O-MATICS / FRETBOARD MOJO (2013)
As promised last summer Norwegian surf vikings are back with their debut full length album entitled "Fretboard Mojo".When the guys released their first 7'' inch Get Hip With... I instantly knew this band had something unique to add the already vibrantly colorful world of surf instro music. Kickstarting this musical journey is the fuzz and thumping "Boss Lady" a punky jerky tune with a semi-spy mystic.I couldn't help,but wish this song was a tad bit longer though.Continuing on with the mystery is the dark menace of "The Ghost" that sounds like perfect music to walk through a graveyard in a old abandoned western settlement town.Persona Non Grata has a almost rockabilly surf n'spy thing going on with spiffy dash of Arabic percussion to spice things up.The menacing bass,and dangerous guitar releases fear as if being chased by a couple of hired hitmen. Starting off with a distinct euro driven rhythm "Rat Tap" morphs into a not so lean ,but mean killing machine of fuzzy/ reverb guitar ace. Galloping up with mustang power is "Tennessee Deadshot" a rockabilly infused spaghetti western number that is sure to squint your eyes in the sun with a Backwoods cigar clinched tight in your teeth.The Euro beat drive of "Fez Inferno" is a scorcher.This track gives me that's 90's Surf Trio vibe,I can't quit place a specific song,but if you're familiar with band you''ll hear it as well.The frenzied guitar parts really cement the whole blazin' inferno effect that this song was named. Test Drive as you may have surmised is a quick paced thrill ride with a intense accelerated pace.Let's burn some rubber!! Slowing the pace down a tad bit is yet another western beat banger called "The Chosen One" a modern day display of what riding a electrified horse may feel like.Though the name of "Spy-The Mystery Man" may suggest espionage I couldn't shake from it sounding like another spaghetti western inspired track with it's deep dry twang,and it's persistent cowboy clomp and stomp.Harem Headlock,now that song title totally lives up to it's name with it's exotic Middle Eastern melodies,and rhythmic guitar structures.Reminds me of the Phantom Four. Transitioning to a more Spanish flavor is the well arranged mini masterpiece that is "El Hombre Sin Clair" not quite pretty,but I hear a hint of a hot summer romance within and a thunderous climax. Saucy indeed!. The album closer "The Twangster" is as to be expected, real heavily choked full of twang,and true grit.If cowgirls were go-go girls this would get them grinding in there Daisy Dukes for sure. So far so good from the boys dreaming of surf in Norway.
If you live on this side of the world do yourself a favor,and pick up this fine album,or CD at
or just go to their web site and shop around because it can be purchased in MP3 format as well at all the popular sites including Amazon,iTunes,Spotify,CD Baby etc.
Hopefully The Twang-O-Matics will get in some summer shows in Europe to help get them some more exposure in the world of surf music.Keep an eye out for these guys!
Review by Noel
The Twang-O-Matics are Nils Tempo on guitar, Mathias Johnsen on drums, Steiner Nilson on Double Bass and Stian Golden on guitar.
Previously members of several Norwegian cult bands, The Twang-O-Matics formed in late 2011, hail from Halden, Norway. They have previously released a 7” EP, Get Hip With… The Twang-O-Matics, and are on three compilations, Jul I Halden 2011 (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) which is a Norwegian Christmas comp, The Continental Magazine #19 (Fez Inferno) and #20 (Test Drive) from Double Crown Records, and Radical Waves (The Chosen One) from Deep Eddy Records.
They say they play loud and frenzied. I say, if you play this record really LOUD you will become frenzied. In a good way. This is music to dance up a storm to. And I like music that makes me want to dance. This does, immediately.
The entire project was recorded by Mathias Johnsen using Pro Tools and produced and mixed by the whole band. Nils plays a Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Telecaster and Dan Electro Baritone on this record running through a BOSS FRV-1 reverb pedal into a Vox AC30. Stian plays a Fender Stratocaster through a BOSS FRV-1 into a Fender Super Reverb. Steinar plays a King Tigerking Double Bass through a Gallien-Kreuger Neo 3x12 cab and Ampeg B5R bass-amp, while Mathias plays DDrum Diode Amber Drums.
How ‘bout that?
I asked about the origin of the music and Nils replied, “Yep, all original tunes. Fez Inferno is written by Stian and myself, Tennessee... by Stian, El Hombre by Stian, Harem Headlock by Mathias and Stian, the rest by me. We share the writing-credits, since we all participate on the arrangement. Its usually like someones has a riff/idea, and then well work on it together.”
There are twelve tunes on Fretboard Mojo. From the first, this isn’t exactly what one might expect. Boss Lady starts with a nice, quick drum beat and heavy reverb on the rhythm guitar that create a driving beat to jump up and dance to. But the lead guitar comes in with searing fuzz. I didn’t expect that. I like that. More than just that, they have created a unique sound that, while incorporating elements that here and there in little or larger ways that remind me of their influences (The Madeira, The Sadies, The Space Cossacks, Dick Dale, Link Wray, Los Straitjackets, Lost Acapulco, Calexico, Los Plantronics and The Beat Tornados) nothing they’ve recorded here sounds like any of them. At least not for more than a measure or two. By the time I think something sounds familiar, they’ve moved on and the feeling is gone, replaced by enjoying something unexpected.
In addition to Boss Lady, other favorites are .. On nuts! Every time I play it, the next tune I hear moves to the top. I love the roaring deep growling glissandos of the guitar in The Ghost. One listen to Fez Inferno and I’m not sure if Los Straitjackets have merged with The Madeira and The Tomorrowmen. It’s that kind of record. How do they combine so many neat themes and styles together into one coherent tune? They’re good. Very good. And so it goes. The Chosen One puts me right into a scene from a Sergio Leone western, but then the beat goes all exotica and I’m smiling because I got taken for a ride again. Fun stuff! And then they go into a set of heavy surf, just long enough to get the listener used to the change, and then back to the cool exotica to finish. All in the same tune. Harlem Headlock is like that too, only it isn’t. It’s got Middle-Eastern, exotica (I think), and some other stuff I’ve lost track of since it started all mixed together in a way that isn’t schizophrenic, just good music.
Then there’s Hombre Sin Calor, another favorite of mine. I finally had to play Dick Dale’s Esperanza to get out of my head the idea that this was just a rewrite. But they seem to have taken a piece of it to create a place to go back to and start over, before taking the music off again into first one direction and then another.
Mixing surf reverb with carefully placed heavy fuzz, and with some very creative writing and performing, they’ve made a record that blends together musical elements of early Surf, Spaghetti-Western, Middle-Eastern, Spy and Exotica. Very cool. Driven hard and well by aggressive drum and bass playing, the music races by.
I’ve played this record a lot; sometimes five or six times in a row, trying to figure out what to write. But also, just because there’s enough variety and interesting elements in the music to make that many listens un-repetitive. I get the feeling though, that no matter how loud I play it at home (I have a very tolerant wife, but you all must have guessed that by now) this is music best heard live and in person. That said, this is a fine record. It holds its’ own among my favorites because it doesn’t sound exactly like any of them, is very well performed and recorded, and because so much of it makes me want to jump up and dance to it.
THE CONTINENTAL MAGAZINE # 20
The Twang-O-Matics - Get Hip With 7" EP (Hack Shack) ****1/2
What can I say - another great surf rock band from Scandinavia. I don't know what it is about that part of the world, but they really are delivering some of the finest surf and instrumental rock n' roll that I've heard over the past 5 years or so. The Twang-O-Matics are a great addition to that scene, with a sound that combines the tone of vintage surf recordings, with melodies tinged with intrigue and mystery. The final tune, "the Chosen One" takes that, and adds some spaghetti western twang (it's my favourite tune of the four). Overall it's a great value - they've crammed four top-notch tunes onto this little slab-o-vinyl. I guarantee you'll be flippin' this 7" over and over again. By the way, they're also one of the very few surf bands that have a women's thong amongst the merch you can purchase through their website - not sure if that's a good or bad thing though…
VINTAGE ROCK MAGAZINE ISSUE 4 AUTUMN 2012
Get Hip With…
This vinyl EP landed on the VR doormat having made it in one piece all the way from the Twang-O-Matics' homeland of Norway. This band major in the kind of unhinged surfy bombast that could keep a fjord thawed for an entire winter. All four tracks are instrumental: there's the frantic eastern promise of Fez Inferno, the killer secret agent riffage dubbed Persona Non Grata, then we head out west with The Ballad of Clarence & Alabama and the wonderfully wobbly tremolo of The Chosen One. Even in the ice and snow, there be surf.
NOSOTROS SOMOS LOS MUERTOS 22.07.2012
THE TWANG-O-MATICS/GET HIP WITH...
El debut de los noruegos The Twang-O-Matics es este ep de sonidos intrumentales con mucho surf, algo de spy y de spaghetti western y una pizca de rockabilly, que va a hacer las delicias de cualquier aficionado al género.
The Twang-O-Matics: "Get Hip With..."
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The Twang-O-Matics består av ringrever fra Østfold-(garage)band som The Basement Brats, The Squareheads, The Nuggets, Howlin’ Mama og The Marsmen. I The Twang-O-Matics er det instrumentalmusikk som gjelder – det befriende fraværet av vokal holder musikken i sentrum, som det står i presseskrivet. De har tidligere vært å høre på samleplaten "Jul i Halden 2011" og de er med på to ferske samleplater, "Radical Waves" (Deep Eddy) og med bladet The Continental, de to siste med låter fra denne ep-en.
To gitarer, ståbass og trommer frambringer en ganske særegen form for surf-/rock-instrumentalmusikk. Gruppa er ikke autentiske i betydningen slik det låt i ’63, men uten ’63 hadde de heller ikke kunnet høres slik ut som de gjør. Kompet låter 2012, rytmegitaren er til tider rå, mens sologitaren lydmessig er plugget i ’63.
Arrangementene er ganske avanserte, det skjer mye, noen ganger litt for mye kanskje. Særlig "Persona Non Grata" virker litt oppstykket siden temaene er såpass forskjellige. Men den er fin også med stompete billy-komp og med rytmegitarlinja som spiller mot sologitaren. "The Ballad Of Clarence & Alabama" er vár stemningsfull som blir tyngre i perioder – surf-power-ballade var et uttrykk som kom til meg. Høydepunktet heter "The Chosen One" – tremolosakte start som blir til galopperende spaghettiwestern-musikk det støver godt av.
ROCK IS DEAD/R.I.P. 13.07.2012
THE TWANG-O-MATICS / GET HIP WITH (2012)
2.Persona Non Grata
3.The Ballad Of Clarence & Alabama
4.The Chosen One
Yet another phenomenal surf instro band has somehow managed to crawl out of the frozen tundra of Norway,Halden to be exact.I'm proud to announce the debut 45 from The Twang-O-Matics.The band consist of Nils Tempo-guitar,Mathias Johnsen-drums,Steinar Nilsen-Double bass[Doghouse],and Stain Golden-guitar.
Something that I really like about this group is their use of the thumping and slapping doghouse bass.Not many surf instro acts go with this instrument for reasons unbeknownst to me.Sure with most rockabilly groups it's a staple choice,but in the surf genre I can only think of a handful of bands and The Fathoms are the first to come to mind. This party gets started with the euro beat driven "Fez Inferno" and what a scorcher it is gang.This track gives me that 90's Surf Trio vibe, I can't quit place a specific song,but if you're familiar with band you'll hear it as well.The frenzied guitar parts really cement the whole blazin' inferno effect that this song was named. Persona Non Grata has a almost rockabilly surf n' spy thing going on with a dash of Arabic percussion to spice things up.The menacing bass,and dangerous guitar releases fear as if being chased by a couple of hitmen. Slowing the pace down is oddly titled "The Ballad Of Clarence & Alabama"[Wasn't that a Quentin Tarantino screenplay?]. I could say that it reminds me of a long lost Impala track,but I couldn't really see them using such harsh distortion,but every other component is there, slowed vibrato guitar howls,mysterious rhythm guitar.As featured on my last review [Radical Waves] comp,the galloping western tone bender "The Chosen One" is one helluva twanger and banger.There is no denying the unmistakable spaghetti nuance,nothing new to the game,but a great track nonetheless.
"Get Hip With..."
Anmeldelse: Vi ønsker velkommen til lo-fi-twangens hot & rockin' partybusting ass shakin' sound of Halden - velkommen til lyden av vaskekte gøy, det glade instrumentale surfrock-vanvidd! Det vil ikke forbause meg en saltdrapert chilinøtt om nytere av musikken til kremartister som Link Wray, Duane Eddy og Dick Dale får seg et nytt norsk favorittband i sprudlende friske The Twang-O-Matics. Nå presentert for første gang med egen plate, selvsagt på vinyl, på en 7"-ep med tittelen "Get hip with...".
The Twang-O-Matics ligner mistenkelig på et band som ga ut 45 r.p.m.-twang for 50 til 55 år sida, så hvis "Get hip with..." ble funnet på loftet sammen med hundrevis av andre 7" fra 50- og 60-tallet så ville man verken sett eller hørt forskjell på sakene. The Twang-O-Matics leverer altså autentisk instrumentalrock skremmende tett opp til inspirasjonskildene.
Bandmedlemmene, som heter Steinar Nilsen, Nils Tempo, Mathias Johnsen og Stian Golden, har solid erfaring, de har spilt i lignende band som The Basement Brats, The Squareheads og The Nuggets & The Marsmen. Gamle Norge er ikke ukjent med at det popper opp nye solide band av denne typen, noe superfenomenale Los Plantronics og The Beat Tornados er eksempler på. Som ved tilfelle The Twang-O-Matics er soundet utemmet og rått, det lukter surfmusikk, rockabilly og 50- og 60-tallet fra øvingslokalet i Halden til undergrunnsbarene i Oslo-gryta, og tilsatt med ulike deler innflytelse fra spaghettiwestern og spansk/mexicansk folkemusikk. Tidlig på 60-tallet lukta det surfmusikk og piggtrådtwang helt hit til Rjukan i Telemark der jeg bor også, anerkjente Zodiacs holdt til her.
På denne lekre 7" får vi servert 4 splitter pine nye rumpedissende, skallerystende, knedansende, sexfrembringende partyshakers med titlene "Fez inferno", "Persona non grata", "The Ballad of Clarence & Alabama" og "The Chosen one". Det er den perfekte medisin for kalde og mørke høst- og vinterkvelder, reseptløst er det også, du slipper til og med å gå til legen. Jeg vil også påstå at det er sunn musikk, for du kommer til å spille denne 7" ofte, og da kommer du ikke utenom at du må opp å stå og gå for å snu plata temmelig mange ganger før du klarer å legge den vekk midlertidig. Medisineringen må gjentas hyppig.
The Twang-O-Matics er ville, de er høylydte, de er spennende, de er eksotiske, de er mystiske, de er fra Halden - ta vel i mot landets nye twangkonger!